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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Colorado Favors Marijuana Legalization but That Could Change

By Ron Crumpton

Polling by SurveyUSA has found that likely voters in Colorado support the complete legalization of marijuana in their state; the poll, which was conducted from October 19-21, shows that 46 percent favored legalization, 43 percent opposed legalization and 11 percent were undecided.

Due to a lack of excitement on the part of Democrats, the models used were heavily skewed toward older voters that are more conservative. Historically, this group is more apt to oppose legalization than most other groups.

If this poll had been conducted during a presidential election year, the results would likely favor legalization by an even greater margin. The turnout among younger voters, who are typically more likely to support legalization, is much higher during the presidential elections than they are in midterm elections. Therefore, if the poll had used the models for the larger elections it would have favored legalization by an even greater margin.

Since Colorado’s constitution allows voter initiatives, legalization will probably be put before voters in the 2012 elections.

While most people believe that passage of Proposition 19, in California, would improve the chance of passing a referendum, that may not be the case.

The reaction by Attorney General Eric Holder and the DEA to legalization in California could be a major factor in future support. If the Department of Justice, Los Angeles Sheriff’s department and the Los Angeles District Attorney follow through on threats to “vigorously prosecute federal marijuana laws in California,” the polling numbers could take a nosedive.

Unfortunately, unless President Obama decides to support the rights of California voters, they can be expected to do exactly that.

They realize that unopposed legalization in California would essentially be the end to the war on marijuana. A successful legal marijuana state would reduce the fear involved in passing similar laws in other states, and would force a more reasoned response to legalization on a national level.

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